Before leaving the country, I managed to set up my life such that I would not have to deal with too many things while abroad. I consolidated banks, closed accounts, sold my vehicles, etc. The day I left I did not have a single ‘account payable’ other than the one credit card that I am traveling with.
Unfortunately, one thing that I did not have time to look into was health insurance. As part of my severance package I was allowed to keep my IBM insurance for 6 months, and then Obama’s Stimulus package somehow gave me a 65% subsidy for another couple of months. Needless to say, as of Sep 1, I’m looking at $150 a month to keep my sweet Kaiser Permanente insurance under COBRA and that jumps to $355 on December 1. Given that I’m out of the country and already have secondary travelers health insurance, I assume I really only need CYA (cover my ass) insurance in case the unthinkable happens and I need serious medical care back home. I also need to avoid the dreaded ‘uninsured period’ that can cause issues in the future if an insurance company deems a symptom ‘pre-existing’. I have met travelers who ONLY have traveler insurance and no home coverage, this sounds risky but may be a short-term option for me. I’m not even sure if secondary traveler health insurance is even valid without primary insurance at home.
I have not been following the Healthcare Reform news, but I think whatever happens it won’t be in time for me. Doing a search on the web only confuses matters more – there are HSA plans, HIA plans, high-deductable, no deductible, coinsurance, blah blah blah. I did take a look at Blue Cross/Blue Shield and they e-mailed me a list of over 18 options, with monthly payments ranging from $39 to $499 a month! There are apparently 10 different healthcare providers in the Denver/Boulder area and I really don’t have time to look into each one. Does anyone have an idea of what an ‘office visit’ costs? I’ve never had to pay anything more than a $20 deductable.
My hunch at this point is to lean on one of the high-deductable, HSA plans while I’m out of the country, re-evaluating when I get home from this trip. I’ve heard that creating a company and listing oneself as self-employed is also a loophole to get lower rates, so this needs to be investigated too.
Anyone who has lost his or her j-o-b, has needed to find health insurance while self-employed or has considered the various options while traveling, please send me an email!